President Macron addressed the nation Monday at 8 p.m. via a recorded message from the Grand Palais Éphémère.
As of Saturday, Delta has become the major variant in France counting 51.7% of the contaminations screened against 30% at the beginning of the week. Nine departments have passed the bar of an incidence rate of 50 per 100,000 people. This includes the Alpes-Maritimes, which ranks third in the list with a rate is 66, behind Paris (86) and the Pyrénées-Orientales (130).
The overall tone is that the government will take the summer to “motivate” as many people as possible to get vaccinated before introducing new measures on the subject. “I have considered making the vaccination mandatory for everyone but I have confidence in you. Nine million doses await. Get vaccinated, it is the only way to protect yourself and others.”
With only 53% of the French population having had one injection, France ranks 18 out of the 30 most vaccinated countries in Europe, despite doses being available. With low vaccination levels and in order to slow the spread the virus, there are four key takeaways from the 27-minute speech.
From July 21, anyone attending a cultural or leisure event in France of 50 people or more will have to have a health pass (pass sanitaire). Currently, this is required for events over 1,000 people. This applies to anyone 12 and over.
From August 10, a health pass will also be required to access restaurants, café, shopping malls, retirement homes, and trains, planes and buses for long distances. Under 12s will not need a health pass and this does not concern subways.
From September 15, mandatory vaccinations for all nurses will come into effect. This includes volunteers working with the elderly and the vulnerable.
From October, PCR tests will no longer be free, except with a prescription.
A health pass will present proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test of less than 48 hours or a positive test attesting to the recovery from Covid.
The extension of the health pass will be transmitted to the Council of State tomorrow.
Guillaume Rozier, founder of Covid Tracker, stated today that since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, case numbers have never increased in France at the current rate as the Delta strain is 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, and that 20-40-year-olds are currently most infected by the Delta. Although this age group is not showing symptoms or being admitted to hospital, by the end of the August and early September, as was the situation last year, the transmission will go from young to old and the government has predicted cases will likely explode then to 60,000 a day with a return of high hospital and ICU admissions.
The president, who is seeking reelection next year, pointed out that since the beginning of the pandemic, France closed its schools for only 12 weeks; in the U.S., schools were closed for 56 weeks. France has been named the most attractive country in Europe for the second year. The country’s growth is expected to reach 6% this year and since January 2021, 187,000 new jobs have been created.